Plans to boost AI

A government review recommends offering an additional 200 PhD places in artificial intelligence at UK universities

07 Nov 2017 by Selina Powell

A government review has detailed plans to enhance the growth of the artificial intelligence (AI) sector in the UK.

The independent report, Growing the artificial intelligence industry in the UK, stated that the increased use of AI can bring the country major social and economic benefits.

“AI offers massive gains in efficiency and performance to most or all industry sectors, from drug discovery to logistics,” the document highlighted. 

It is estimated that AI could add an extra £630bn to the UK economy by 2035.

In the field of eye health, a partnership between DeepMind Health and Moorfields Eye Hospital has used machine learning to analyse optical coherence tomography scans, while computer company IBM has used deep learning to classify the severity of diabetic retinopathy.

The new report recommends that the government establish ‘data trusts’ to make it easier to share data and to reassure the public about the way data is being used.

The review also calls for an extra 200 PhD places at UK universities in AI and an industry-funded Masters programme in AI.

“Skilled experts are needed to develop AI, and they are in short supply,” the report explained.

“To develop more AI, the UK will need a larger workforce with deep AI expertise, and more development of lower level skills to work with AI.”

The report recommends making the Alan Turing Institute the national institute for AI and data science. It also highlights the need for a programme to support public sector use of AI. 

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